The Niger Delta Development Commission under its new Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere has assured Niger Delta youths of a new phase of life under the current new management of the commission. The managing director made the statement when he hosted a cross section of the Niger Delta youths led by the self-styled “General Akpodoro “whose real names are Israel Eshankpe.
Mr. Nsima revealed the new strategic plans of his administration which he is convinced will shape the future of all Niger Delta youths and guarantee them economic emancipation.
He stated that one of such plans is the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Bank (NDDB) which is designed to provide soft loans to the youths, women, and persons in the region at a very tolerable rate.
Another project earmark to target youth is the proposed conversions of illegal refineries to modern modular refineries majority of which will be managed by the youths in the region. According to Mr. Ekere “The NDDC has been mandated by the Federal Government of Nigeria to work out the framework with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources so that youths of communities in the Niger Delta will be empowered through the establishment of modular refineries.”
The NDDC Managing Director also stated the plans of the commission to ensure an enduring and sustainable development of the Niger Delta by improving the capacity of youths through information and computer technology as well assist them to acquire modern expertise in agriculture and food processing.
Another area which the commission intends to empower the youths in the region is in sports and talents development in order to showcase their skills in the creative arts industry. Through this medium of training and exposure, many youths In the region will stand out as musicians and film actors, producers as well as sportsmen and women in the country.
The commission is consolidating on and improving on the scholarships given to various youths in both secondary schools and tertiary institutions as well as post-graduate schools to further their academic studies so as to improve their capacity in different fields of endeavor.
However, to accomplish all these lofty plans and projections meant to improve the youths and ensure their sustainable development, the youths will have to join hands with the commission towards making the Niger Delta safe for investment and business. Mr. Ekere stressed that no meaningful development can be achieved in an atmosphere of strife and violence hence the need for youths to give peace a chance.
The NDDC boss lamented that since the new management came on board, the major problem with them has been how to address and talk to the youths of the Niger Delta region. He disclosed that many” Generals” have been calling him on behalf of various youth groups and he is confused who to rely on.
The NDDC boss called on youths to have a proper youth forum or structure that government can always talk to when youth matters need attention. He advised the youths to emulate their elders who have organised themselves under the Pan Niger Delta Development Forum (PANDEF).
Responding on behalf of the youths’ one Chief Fred One, who is a representative of youths from Delta State lauded the new management of the NDDC under Mr. Ekere for talking to the youths. Chief One disclosed that the commission can always consult with the youths of the region who have now come together under an umbrella called the Coalition of Niger Delta Ex-agitators and Youth leaders Parliament. Chief One assured the NDDC boss that the youths would give peace a chance in the region but called for adequate empowerment.
An effective plan and implementation for the development and empowerment of Niger Delta youths should be implemented without further delay. This is the tonic that will force them to support the Federal Government and ensure peace and tranquility in the oil-rich region.